The following letter was sent to Archbishop Paul (Gassios), Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Diocese of Chicago and the Midwest, on January 9. This morning, the author shared it with Orthodoxy in Dialogue for dissemination to our readers around the planet. To keep him/her safe from the very real and present danger of death threats in today’s sociopolitical climate, we are publishing his/her letter anonymously.
ADDENDUM (1/11/21): An observant reader informs us that Father Hodges has scrubbed his Facebook page of most references to his participation in the Trump Riot since our publication of this open letter yesterday.
ADDENDUM (1/12/21): See Father Seraphim Holland and Father Mark Hodges Respond to Open Letter on Trump Riot.
Archpriest Mark Hodges
St. Paul the Apostle Church (OCA)
Greetings, Vladyka Paul,
A blessed Theophany to you.
Fellow Orthodox believers and I wanted to report that one of your clergy, the Very Rev. Mark Hodges, was present at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. during the siege attempt of the U.S. Capitol building.
This was a premeditated plan, as he posted it on his social media page, and there is both photographic and video footage of his presence there.
Fellow Orthodox noticed the presence of a man in a cassock from another social media video of the coup attempt. We originally thought it was a priest from our own jurisdiction, but we found out it was from your diocese.
Considering that Metropolitan TIKHON has condemned the events of the day, I thought it would be best that you knew. Forgive me if you already know, but given that he promoted the start of the “Second American Revolution” in his post, it is concerning to many lay people that a clergy in his position would have been present at an event that ultimately led to five people dying for no reason.
In addition to letting you know about this, I will also let you know that his actions and presence have been reported to the FBI, as they have requested information about those who were present. This has been done anonymously to protect them from harm.
I pray that this violence and hurt will end in our nation, and in our world.